Federal prosecutors ask for 25-year sentence for Sudbury Al Qaeda supporter Tarek Mehanna

Federal prosecutors said today that Tarek Mehanna lived a “double life’’ and should be imprisoned for 25 years to protect the public and punish him for committing “among the most serious crimes a person can commit.’’

Mehanna, who grew up in the comfortable Boston suburb of Sudbury, was convicted in December of supporting Al Qaeda.

“In contrast to many terrorists, including some of his co-conspirators, Mehanna has never disavowed his extremist views or expressed any remorse for his crimes,’’ prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed in US District Court in Boston.

“Mehanna’s crimes of conspiring to kill Americans and providing support to this country’s enemies are among the most serious a person can commit,’’ prosecutors in the office of US Attorney Carmen Ortiz wrote in court papers. “The need for punishment, along with the need to prevent him from reoffending and to deter others, requires a substantial prison sentence.’’


Prosecutors will not ask for the maximum — life imprisonment — at his sentencing this week even though, they said, he has been living a “double life.’’

Mehanna, prosecutors said, posed as a “dutiful and scholarly man’’ when, in fact, he is an “angry, callous, calculating man who obsessed about violence against Americans for most of his adult life.’’

Prosecutors said the long prison sentence coupled with lifetime probation is the proper punishment under federal sentencing guidelines.

The Globe reported today that Mehanna has written personally to US District Court Judge George A. O’Toole Jr., who is scheduled to sentence him Thursday. Mehanna, 29, is expected to address O’Toole at length before his sentencing.

Mehanna wrote of being a young pharmacist offered a job at a medical center in Saudi Arabia before his arrest and of his teaching young Muslims at a Worcester Islamic school until he was indicted a year later.

“Without a doubt, [teaching] was the most fulfilling experience of my life,’’ he wrote, adding that the timing of the arrest and indictment “represent how two very different worlds collided: the world in which my body currently resides, and the world which my heart will never leave.’’


In a court filing Monday, Mehanna’s attorneys asked O’Toole to impose a sentence no greater than 6 1/2 years.


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